Tuesday, February 3, 2015

1 Nephi 3:30-31 -- On Hearing Angels

"And after the angel had spoken unto us, he departed.
And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?"
1 Nephi 3:30-31

Usually in the scriptures when angels appear, people believe them.  In this case though, the angel departs and the doubt sets in again immediately, and Laman and Lemuel are wondering how they can do what God asks.  They think they are in danger of being killed, and actually with good reason.  They've already tried to do this thing twice, and the second time almost died for it.
... But it's an angel.  It's what we wish we had in our lives a lot, right?  A direct, clear message from God, telling us what to do.  And I think that this verse shows that direct, clear messages don't always help.  Often they increase the responsibility and don't remove the fear.  The difference is whether we are ready for them, and already faithful.  Nephi heard the same angel, and believed, and accomplished what was asked.  But Laman and Lemuel still wanted to avoid and run away, just like they wanted to before.  To me, this shows that the clarity that we seek is not an external thing that God can clear up for us by sending an angel or a lightning bolt.  The clarity is something we need to get internally, so that when we get the messages from God we are ready to hear them, listen to them, believe them, and act on them.  God can help us with that clarity, but it doesn't come packaged in a magical FedEx box from heaven marked urgent.  It comes a little at a time, as we learn to trust God with progressively bigger things, and learn to recognize his voice and his hand in our lives.
Today, let's work on getting into a place in our lives where we will hear and believe if that angel comes--or the spiritual prompting, or the vision, or the voice, or just the answer to a simple prayer.  Let's work on our faith and be willing to do as God asks, and trust what he says... so that he can trust us more and more and we can be open and ready for greater insight and messages helping us in our lives.  Let's remove the distractions, and dismiss the part of us that wants to run or hear something else.  Let's listen to God... really listen. If we do, then he'll be able to tell us what we need to know.

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